This is a hike we did during Spring vacation across 霧降高原 (Kirifuri Plateau) and down to Kirifuri Falls near Nikko. We wanted to hike up Mt Oyama but the path had been washed out/landslide so we had to change route. It was kind of lucky in a way as there were some gorgeous waterfalls that we may not have otherwise seen.
The start of the hike was not particularly interesting. It was just the wrong season – too late for mountain cherry blossoms but too early for Spring flowers so mainly just this grass:
From there we walked down the mountain to 丁字滝 (Teiji Falls):
From there we climbed back up to マックラ滝 (Makkura Falls):
Then we followed the course along the Kirifuri River:
And up the inevitable stairs:
This is the view from the Kirifuri Falls lookout. The middle mountain is where we started from:
霧降の滝 (Kirifuri Falls):
Climbing above the Yudaki Waterfalls, you come to Yunoko Lake and Yumoto Onsen (hotsprings). Hotsprings here actually date back 1200 years, founded in 788AD by a priest named Shoto:
The lake is popular for fishing and there is a nice walk which takes you around most of the circumference of the lake:
A nice walk just above Lake Chuzenji is across Senjogahara (戦場ヶ原), which means ‘battle plain’. Legend has that the gods of two mountains, Mt Nantai and Mt Akagi, fought here over control of Lake Chuzenji-ko. Nantai was losing so he consulted another god, Kashima Daimyojin, who introduced him to an expert archer called Sarumaru (who was actually one of Nantai’s grandsons – why he didn’t already know that I’m not sure). Nantai transformed himself into a white deer to lure Sarumaru out onto the plateau. The gods fought on Senjogahara where Akagi transformed himself into a giant horned centipede and Nantai transformed into a snake. Sarumaru then shot the centipede through the eye. Thus the winner was Mt Nantai who now stands watch over the lake.
There are wooden walkways that stretch across the plain:
Spring doesn’t come until the end of June so it is rather desolate at the end of winter:
It is mainly marshland which makes you thankful for the excellently maintained walkways:
The walk ends at Yudaki Waterfalls:
Lake Chuzenji was created about 20,000 years ago when the mountain, Mt Nantai, erupted and created a natural dam. The mountain was considered sacred and was closed to women, horses, and cows until 1872.
The lake drains through the Kegon Falls:
A scenic road on the far side leads up to a viewing area with great views of Mt Nantai and the mountains beyond:
This is the view from the top of the Irohazaka road north of Nikko back out across the Tochigi mountains: